National Geographic : 1896 Nov
378 CRITICAL PERIOD IN SOUTH AFRICAN HISTORY anarchy into which the republic drifted, of the danger of a gen eral uprising of the natives throughout the whole of South Africa, of the appeal made to the British government by a portion of the Boer nation, and of the strenuous efforts of the president of the republic to arouse the nation at large to a sense of its " impending dissolution " and to induce it to enter a confederation with the British colonies on the model of the Dominion of Canada is all impartially related in the volumes of Appletons' Annual Cyclo predia covering the period in question.* All writers are agreed that at this time the Boers were utterly unable to defend themselves against the natives; their forces in the field had been overwhelmingly defeated and protection for their families and property could be secured only by the pay ment of blackmail to the native chiefs. To add to the demoral ization created by the success of the Kaffirs in the north the Zulu king threatened invasion from the south, and the Boers were declared by their own president to be without any proper conception of their obligations as a civilized government. Em boldened by their success against the republic the natives every where assumed a menacing attitude, and a conflagration that would have overspread the whole of South Africa seemed on the verge of breaking out. Whether the Boers had at that time any idea of reasserting their independence after the subjugation of their enemies by the British there is no evidence to show, but it is an indisputable fact that they exchanged their independent sovereignty, such as it was, for British protection, if not with an enthusiasm at variance with their stolid character, at least with undisguised satisfaction and a manifest sense of relief. Two years or a little more after the annexation of the Trans vaal the British, after sustaining several serious reverses, com pletely broke the Zulu power and captured its warlike king, Cetewayo. Three months later Secocoeni, the Kaffir chieftain to whose military skill the complete overthrow of the Boers had been largely due, surrendered to British authority. This sub jugation of the natives paved the way to that reestablishment of the Boer republic which took place the following year. While the two cases are not in every respect analogous, the encroachments of the British on the dominions of the Boers are not unlike those of our own frontiersmen on the treaty reserva *See Appletons' Annual Cycloptedia, New Series, Vols. I-II, 1876-'77, Articles, "Africa," "Cape Colony," and "Transvaal Republic." See also the Book of Facts, Harper Brothers, New York, 1895, p. 807.